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If you’ve been waiting nervously since you first heard about the Starwood and Marriott merger, you can finally get a sneak peek of what the new combined loyalty program will look like. Beginning in August 2018, the Marriott Rewards, Ritz-Carlton Rewards, and Starwood Preferred Guest programs enter the final lap to finalize the merger in 2019 with a single rewards program.
More details will be released in the upcoming months, but we now have a firm idea how you’ll be able to earn and redeem points between all three programs and the upcoming Marriott and Starwood credit cards.
What We Know About the Starwood and Marriott Merger So Far
In an official press release, Marriott International has finally given a glimpse what the new Marriott program will look like.
When it’s all completed in early 2019, there will be a completely renamed loyalty program that will let you use your points for these reward activities:
- Book a stay at 6,500 hotels from 29 global brands
- Over 110,000 experiences at 1,000 destination via Moments experiential platform
- Newly created Moments Live event series for “once-in-a-lifetime” experiences
Marriott is offering more experiences through its Moments and Moments Live programs that don’t require a stay to take advantage of. While you may still prefer to use the bulk of your points for free hotel nights, these exclusive events can get you a ticket into concerts, festivals, and excursions you’ve only heard others talk about in the past.
Loyalty Accounts Merge in August 2018
In August 2018, your Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, and Starwood loyalty accounts will all combine into a single account. Right now, your accounts can be linked and you’ll receive matching membership status within all three rewards programs. But if you want to book a Marriott stay with Starpoints, you have to transfer them to Marriott first on a 1:3 basis.
Starwood Preferred Guest Points Balance Triples
Starwood Preferred Guest members will see their point balances triple in August 2018 making 1,000 Starpoints worth 3,000 Marriott Rewards points. In 2019, the points will be renamed to reflect the name of the new loyalty program.
This boost is equivalent to the current 1 Starpoint: 3 Marriott Rewards points that you’ve been able to do since 2017.
Earn 10 Points Per $1 on Most Stays
Beginning in August, all SPG, Marriott Rewards, and The Ritz-Carlton Rewards members will earn ten points per $1 spent on most hotel stays.
You will only earn 5 points per $1 when you stay at:
- Residence Inn
- TownePlace Suites
Another exciting change is that you’ll now earn the bonus points for food, beverage, and qualifying incidentals. Currently, you only earn bonus points on the room rate, so this is a unique twist that you might expect other hotel loyalty programs to begin adopting soon.
Peak and Off-Peak Redemption Rates in 2019
Right now, Marriott and Ritz-Carlton both offer discounted PointSaver rates and regular hotel rates. Starwood offers differing weekend and weekday reward night pricing on select properties.
An updated award will be released in August with standard pricing that looks similar to the current redemption rates. In 2019, the new loyalty program will base reward night pricing on peak and off-peak rates, similar to airline rewards programs.
There won’t be any blackout dates for any properties.
Achieve Elite Status Sooner
Marriott Rewards members will enjoy this change as you should be able to earn upgraded membership status sooner:
- Silver elite status: 10 nights
- Gold elite status: 25 nights (Currently 50 nights for Marriott Rewards members)
- Platinum elite status: 50 nights (Currently 75 nights for Marriott Rewards members)
- Platinum Premier elite status: 100 nights and $20,000 of spending
If you can attain Platinum Premier status, you’ll be incorporated in Marriott’s ambassador program and enjoy the best loyalty benefits.
All members that currently have Lifetime status with their respective program will continue to enjoy this status as it truly lasts a lifetime.
Free Breakfast Benefits Extended
Platinum and Platinum Premier members can enjoy free breakfast benefits at 23 brands including Courtyard, AC Hotels by Marriott, Protea, Moxy, and resorts.
This benefit is currently only available at five Marriott brands and not all Marriott resorts are excluded so this is another nice addition that makes it worth achieving the top travel status.
New Marriott and Starwood Credit Cards
If the upcoming changes to how you can earn and redeem your rewards points isn’t enough, the announcement of two new co-brand credit cards from Chase and American Express is worth a look too.
Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Credit Card
Chase is launching the Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Credit Card on May 3, 2018. You may:
- Earn six Marriott Rewards points per $1 at participating hotels
- Earn two points per $1 on eligible purchases
- Free anniversary night on properties up to 35,000 points
- Guaranteed elite status
- Additional travel benefits
The Marriott Rewards Premier Plus will have a $95 annual fee. Its introductory sign-up bonus is the ability to earn 2 Free Night Awards (each valued up to 35,000 points) after spending $3,000 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
Starwood Preferred Guest American Express Luxury Card
American Express is launching the premium Starwood Preferred Guest American Express Luxury Card offering:
- Earn six points per $1 at participating hotels
- Earn three points per $1 on airfare and U.S. restaurants
- Earn two points per $1 on all eligible purchases
- $300 annual on-property statement credit
- Free night award up to 50,000 points
- Automatic Gold Elite status
- $100 Global Entry application fee credit
- Priority Pass Select airport lounge membership
- Additional travel benefits
Existing Marriott and Starwood Credit Cards Remain Active
If you currently own a personal or business version of the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card or Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card, you can keep these card account open and continue enjoying the same benefits. In the near future, Chase and American Express will notify you of any changes related to the merger updates taking place in August 2018 or early 2019.
Marriott Will Continue To Announce More Updates
Marriott will continue to announce more updates as the merger dates approach. You can visit your Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, or Starwood Preferred Guest loyalty account to register for updates so you don’t miss a beat.
Summary of Starwood and Marriott Merger
We all have nervous energy when expecting new changes, but the day has finally arrived to begin preparing for how the Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, and Starwood loyalty program will look going forward for the rest of 2018. In 2019, the red ribbon will finally be cut on the brand new rewards program as the merger is completely finished.
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